Online Tutorials

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Success Stories

Links to Great Online Tutorials

  • Atlantic Community College
  • Central Michigan University
  • ANTS: ANimated Tutorial Sharing project by COPPULThis project was designed to enable librarians to share in the development of point-of-need animated tutorials for a multitude of e-products. The project makes use of new Collaborative Information Technology (CIT) via an Open Source Institutional Repository (DSpace), a Wiki, RSS Feeds and Web Pages. This enables participants to (1) identify tutorials for development and (2) keep others up to date on their work. Initially only COPPUL librarians could add content to the Repository; but as of October 2006, any librarian can add content as well as download open source tutorials. It should also be noted that as its list of e-resources for tutorial development is on a Wiki, the list is considered to be a starting point for development. Anyone can add new e-products to the list of tutorials for development. Similarly, other types of library tutorials are welcome. One need only indicate that it exists on the wiki and ensure that the source code for the tutorial is uploaded into DSpace.
  • Dalhousie University LibCasts
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Minnesota
  • Binghamton University

Tips for Developing Online Tutorials & Other Tricks

  1. Resources: Consider what type of software best meets the needs of your library and your tutorial.
  2. Budget: Determine your budget for software and staffing for the project. Often an online tutorial project can be funded with grant money from a parent institution.
  3. Technical Support: Secure some form of ongoing technical support for your tutorials. Tech support can come from your library systems department or a campus Information Technology department.
  4. Planning: Many people find "storyboarding" and graphic outlines to be useful tools for planning tutorials.
  5. Content: Carefully consider your audience when designing tutorials. Tailor tutorials to meet the needs of your audience. Tutorials can be course-related or stand alone. The objectives of the tutorial should be clearly stated for users. The most effective online tutorials allow for interaction and "active learning." Graphics add to the learning experience, but studies have found that adding sound to a tutorial doesn't work. Be sure and provide contact information for librarians who can help tutorial users with the tasks covered in the tutorial. Many tutorials contain email links.
  6. Currency: Keep tutorials current. Update as information and resources change and evolve.
  7. Feedback: Have a novice user review your tutorial to ensure ease of use and to ensure all tasks/steps are clearly defined in the tutorial.

Software We Like

Whopper List of Every Screencasting Tool on the Planet


  • CamStudio (GPL)
  • Adobe Captivate (formerly Macromedia Captivate)
  • TechSmith Camtasia
  • Qarbon ViewletBuilder 5
  • Wink (Freeware)
  • (Free - Windows Only - includes free hosting)
  • Jing (Free - OSX and Windows - includes free hosting)
  • TipCam from
  • Windows 10 troubleshooting guide


  • Camtasia:mac
  • iShowU
  • Snapz Pro X
  • ScreenFlow (Leopard Only)
  • Jing (Free - OSX and Windows - includes free hosting)
  • Qarbon ViewletBuilder 4


  • Qarbon ViewletBuilder 4
  • Wink (Freeware)
  • xvidcap
  • Tux Radar Group test: screencasting apps

Web-based (Platform Independent)

  • Screencast-O-Matic (Free)
  • ScreenToaster (Free)
  • Screenr
  • ScreenCastle
  • Screenjelly

Blogs/Websites to Watch

  • Distant Librarian
  • Jon Udell's Weblog
  • CORIL A small but growing Canadian repository of online learning objects sponsored by the Ontario Council of University Libraries
  • PRIMO A database of links to "peer-reviewed instructional materials created by librarians to teach people about discovering, accessing and evaluating information in networked environments". Produced by the Instruction Section of the ALA/ACRL.
  • Library Instruction Wiki - Sharing resources section
  • Rich Hoeg's eContent Blog - knowledge management from the corporate perspective
  • LibCasting

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

  • Captivate vs. Camtasia - It's Anybody's Game by Steadfast Librarian
  • Screencasting to Help Your Mom by Digital Inspiration
  • Camtasia vs. Captivate by Information Wants to be Free
  • Macromedia Captivate vs. Qarbon ViewletBuilder by Distant Librarian
  • Creating Interactive Learning Tutorials for Software by Robin Good
  • Demo services for Software products by Mervyn
  • Movies of Software by Jon Udell
  • Our Reference Wiki and Online Tutorials by Stephen Francoeur
  • Web 2.0 Screencast Tutorials by Rich Hoeg
  • Google Co-Op Search Engines & Tutorial by Rich Hoeg
  • That's Infotainment School Library Journal article by Ellyssa Kroski
  • How to Make 720p High Definition Screencast Videos for YouTube by Digital Inspiration
  • "More Than Words" screencasting as a reference tool by Allison Carr & Pearl Ly Reference Services Review 2009, 37(4) p. 408-420. DOI: 10.1108/00907320911007010